The Practitioner: Mr Approachable?

Is it me, I often wonder? Am I totally unapproachable? Why don’t people just ask? Rather than spending a whole day running around like a headless chicken looking for something, why not just ask for help?

Some staff appear to have a problem with asking for help with even the smallest of things. I have, however, started to suspect that certain people like running around on wild goose chases as this means they don’t actually have to do any proper work.

Sometimes you can’t blame them; I would rather jump off a bridge than do Farmer George’s tax return. I have never seen so many dividend vouchers, sales of investments, offshore savings accounts, etc, etc.

I always have my door open, except when on the phone to difficult clients or the bank manager, so staff hopefully see me as approachable.

I remember some of the partners I used to work for who would make people feel scared to death of knocking on their door. They seemed quite content to sit in their smoke-filled room all day reading the newspapers and accountancy press and would only communicate with staff via written file notes and query sheets.

I sometimes wonder how those partners managed to build up successful businesses with such poor inter-personal skills. Having said all that, there is something to be said for shutting the door and keeping the moaning sods out sometimes.

“If you don’t ask you don’t learn,” that’s what I got told by Big Frank who taught me everything I know. He also taught me that “debit is nearest the window”. This served me well for a good three years until they moved the desks around in the office, after which debit was definitely NOT nearest the window.

Some clients can be like the moaning staff sometimes. They want something from you but don’t tell you till you phone them up after receiving a clearance letter from the non-qualified firm of cowboys down the road. All they had to do was ask and I would have quite happily reduced the bill by £50!

For some clients, however, I would quite happily walk down the road and introduce them personally to the cowboys.

Farmer George, if you’re reading this, I’m not referring to you… honest.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from the coalface of a regional firm in the heart of England

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The Practitioner